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Genworth Financial Insurance Review & Complaints: Long-term Care & Mortgage Insurance

Genworth Financial life insurance offerings have been replaced with long-term care, mortgage insurance, and immediate need annuity plans. You cannot get a Genworth quote online, but you will find a Better Business Bureau page with Genworth Financial ratings at a B.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 11, 2020

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With a history that goes back nearly 150 years, Genworth Financial can be counted among the more venerable companies in the market. They have a relatively narrow focus on a few basic products including long-term care insurance, which is their main product.

Genworth made some big changes recently that have shifted the company’s focus away from life insurance and onto long-term care coverage. Their market focus is on retirees and those approaching retirement, although products are available to everyone.

About Genworth Financial

Founded in 1871 under the name The Life Insurance Company of Virginia, the company now known as Genworth Financial took a few twists and turns to its current status. They were founded by two investors in Petersburg, Virginia, and saw a major expansion in the first decade.

Starting in 1986, the company saw a series of acquisitions and changes. It was in that year that they were acquired by Combined Insurance, which became AON Corporation the following year.

GE Capital bought AON’s life insurance business in 199. This led to the creation of Genworth Financial under the General Electric name in 2004. By 2006, however, GE had sold off its interest, and several restructuring changes followed. In 2016 Genworth was purchased by international holding company China Oceanwide Holdings Group.

In spite of all the shuffling, Genworth’s headquarters remains in its founding state, Virginia, with a branch office operating in Toronto, Canada for the Canadian operations of the company. Genworth MI Canadian went public in 2009, with an IPO raising $850 million. Genworth operates in 25 countries.

Although Genworth sold life insurance products for most of its long history, in 2016 the company halted sales of all life insurance and also dropped most of their annuity business. The decision was made in response to financial losses on the life insurance side, while long-term care appears to be a better bet for the company. As a result, they now focus on long-term care and caregiver support policies. They are consistently among the top five companies for long-term care sales across the country.

Genworth also offers mortgage insurance while still offering a basic annuity option. They continue to service life insurance policies that were issued prior to 2016.

The Genworth Foundation was established in 2005 and gives grants to international non-profit organizations. They focus these grants on affordable housing projects and those affecting the aging population, including caregiver assistance and healthy aging efforts.

The Genworth website has a direct focus on their market – seniors – with a section dedicated to aging and how long-term care insurance works.

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Genworth Products and Services

Genworth’s product list is much reduced from pre-2016 status. They offer long-term care for individuals as well as groups, mortgage insurance, and an immediate need annuity product.

Long-Term Care

Genworth puts a heavy emphasis on their long-term care products, which are available across the United States and in Canada. The plans offered vary from state to state.

We selected California as a sample state, and we were offered two sample policies for download. Direct information is not offered on these policies on the website, and there is not an easy method of comparison.

The sample policies are examples of available coverage but don’t provide much information that is useful to the average person shopping for long-term care coverage – particularly since most people are not used to reading policies filled with insurance industry jargon.

For one of the largest providers of long-term care insurance in the nation and an international corporation, the lack of policy detail on the website is surprising. They direct visitors to contact the company for more information, which is likely to lead to solicitation. That said, the target market for these products may well appreciate discussing their options for coverage with a person rather than trying to make sense of a list of policy terms on a website.

Mortgage Insurance

Genworth works directly with lenders to provide homebuyers with mortgage insurance plans that allow the purchase of a home with a lower down payment.

Mortgage insurance, required by lenders of any buyer unable to put down a 20% down payment on their home purchase, is rarely the kind of product people shop around for before purchasing.

It is unusual for a homebuyer to seek out a specific company for mortgage insurance, as it is usually selected by the lender during the financing process. This makes it unlikely that Genworth sees a lot of business on this product directly through consumers, but rather through a partnership with lenders. That said, their website seems to indicate that they hope to change some of that by engaging customers in the process of selecting their mortgage insurance in much the same way they would shop for any other insurance.

Genworth promises their plans provide affordable payments and tax-deductible premiums, and easy cancellation when requirements are met. They also offer a homebuyer assistance program among other added benefits.

Immediate Need Annuity

Although Genworth previously sold a wide range of annuities, they currently offer only their Income Assurance Immediate Need Annuity.

This is a single premium annuity that is medically underwritten, which does not affect the cost of the policy but may impact the amount of the regular payouts based on need.

The plan can be issued between the ages of 70 and 95, with a minimum premium of $50,00, going up by $25,000 increments to a maximum of $1,000,000.

This plan makes monthly payments to the annuity owner and has to option to add cost of living adjustments. It also has an early death benefit as well as the option of enhanced death benefits.

Care Scout

Care Scout is a Genworth company that is dedicated to helping connect caregivers with those in need. The company works to help employers, caregivers, customers, and everyone in between make the process smoother.

The main goal of Care Scout is to provide professional services that assist in making informed decisions regarding long-term care. This includes a team of Care Advocates, Care Coordinators, Program Support, and local “Field Scout” healthcare professionals.

Rates

Genworth does not offer online quoting and requires contact with a representative in order to obtain rates. Given the lack of information on their long-term care insurance plans, it is not surprising that they do not have any quick quoting.

It is hard to guess what rates from Genworth might look like; they are a big company and do not use agents to sell products, so it’s possible they are competitive. Without sample rates, however, it is all just conjecture.

Claims

In spite of a general lack of online services in other areas, Genworth does allow claims for long-term care policies to be filed online. The account owner will have to log in to the company’s customer account system in order to access the online claims section.

Claims can also be filed over the phone, or by mailing or faxing claims forms.

The toll-free claims line is available Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. That line is 800-876-4582.

A 24/7 claims line is not offered, but that is common for companies that do not service the type of insurance policy involved emergency or immediate need claims – such as an auto insurance or home insurance company would.

The claims information section for long-term care policies is detailed and informative. This is a surprising plus for a company that does not provide much detail regarding their company on the website.

Customers can enter their policy number and get detailed information on how the claims process will proceed based on the type of policy they have. The company will then asses the claim, determine eligibility, and proceed to provide the appropriate benefits. Depending on the type of policy, that may take place on a reimbursement basis.

Since Genworth still administers existing life insurance and annuity policies, even the ones they no longer sell, they also offer claims information for these products. Both life and annuity claims can be initiated over the phone, and forms can be sent in by mail as well. There is no online option for filing a life insurance claim.

Information is not offered in regards to the filing of mortgage insurance claims, but that makes sense since it is the mortgage company that would file in the event of a default.

Overall, Genworth offers solid, helpful claims information on their website that is among the most comprehensive we have seen for this type of company.

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The Genworth Website

As we have already noted, Genworth’s website lacks any real information about the products they sell. It gives the impression of being there more for the purpose of assisting seniors with understanding what long-term care is and why they need it. There isn’t anything wrong with this – it markets products fairly effectively without actually proving a lot of detail on those products.

The site itself is simple and clean, and it is easy to navigate as well as to find the information you are seeking. The content is friendly and approachable, featuring a lot of testimonials and helpful articles.

There is an option to make a payment online and also a customer login area where clients can manage policies, so the site does offer some of the online conveniences today’s consumer expects.

Overall, Genworth’s website is one of the easier to use and more information than some of this company’s competitors.

Ratings and Consumer Reviews

Genworth Financial is not Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited and currently has a B rating on their file. The BBB states that the reason for the lowered score is the 25 complaints filed against the company in the past three years. Of those, 15 were closed in the past 12 months. This is really not a surprisingly high complaint volume, so the BBB’s decision to drop the company rating is a little unusual.

Consumer Affairs, however, does have a considerably larger number of complaints on file. Of the 218 reviews on the site, the vast majority are negative. Of a total of 213-star ratings, 173 are 1-star and only four are a 5-star rating.

Complaints center on rate hikes as well as delays in claim payments or complete denial of claims. There are also repeated complaints of unexpected and very large rate hikes for existing policyholders.

There are an additional 12 negative reviews on Pissed Consumer, where policyholders have similar complaints.

Genworth has been sued twice in recent years on accusations of making false and misleading statements, including a 2014 class action and a 2016 settlement of $219 million. Further lawsuits were brought against the company in 2017. The 2014 lawsuit was a class action brought by policyholders, while the 2016 suit centered around the company making misleading statements to shareholders regarding the company’s long-term care insurance reserves. Genworth eventually admitted its long-term care reserves were under-funded by $500 million.

These are related issues, and the problems did not end there. In 2017, two more lawsuits were filed against Genworth; again one suit was brought by shareholders and the other by policyholders.

All of this makes it fairly clear why customers are complaining about sudden rate increases; Genworth has had to make up depleted reserves and pay out settlements.

The Bottom Line

In spite of making long-term care a focal point of their products, Genworth provides little information on the products on the company website and does not offer rates. They do have a very comprehensive claims section, which is good to see, and gives the impression of wanting to provide the information existing customers need. It would be helpful to see an increase in the amount of information provided for potential new customers.

It is difficult to ignore the lawsuits against this company, and in spite of relatively low complaint volume for a company of its size, those suits weigh heavily against Genworth. One of the biggest things that build an insurance company’s reputation is transparency, honesty, and genuine concern for its customers. Misleading customers is a big deal, especially in a market that focuses on seniors, and so is sudden rate increases in a demographic that is frequently on a fixed income.

These concerns lead us to suggest seeking long-term care insurance with a company whose reputation is more postive.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Review Information

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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

12 Comments

  1. I have a sizeable 20-yr life policy taken out in 2011.

    I’m concerned about the payment of a death benefit.

    Has there been any recent feedback indicating difficulties in getting death claims paid?

    Reply
  2. What about the ability to pay on existing life insurance If our lives one passed away in the next 20 years? Will this company be here to pay the claim?

    Reply
  3. We bought an LTC policy with Genworth 15 years ago with policy premiums rising for the last 4 years. Has Oceanside, in fact, bought Genworth and is it government approved and finalized? We have invested around $37,000, so would you cancel, pick a lower tier of benefits or go the course?

    Reply
    • We took out our policy in 2001 and have paid out over $50,000.

      We were told that if one of us were to go to a home, we would not have to pay our premiums.

      From another comment, it looks as if that is no longer true…..or was it ever?

      Reply
  4. I signed up for a long-term care policy under the California Partnership program. The rates were supposed to never go up. Yea. Uh huh.

    Rates went up over 10% each year and I was about 45 when I signed up. You can do the math on compounding.

    After paying these [censored] I dropped the policy after wasting over $20,000.

    Reply
  5. I am thinking about investing in the ‘Income Assurance Immediate Need Annuity’, they or underwriter, Louis Brownstone from Calif. is promoting. It states one will receive 2x the annuity. Due to the paralyzed condition of my wife; stroke 17yrs. ago. Any insights, recommendations on Louis, Genworth or any other better co.?

    Reply
    • Hi George,

      I sent you a direct email regarding an acquaintance of mine that handles these types of scenarios. If you have any questions, please reply to that email or reach out via our Contact Page:

      https://www.expertinsurancereviews.com/contact/

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
  6. Eric;

    I have a Long Term Health Care policy with Genworth. I am 72 and have been making my premium payments for the past eight years. They just advised me that, for the first time, they are increasing my premiums by 50%. I don’t understand how you can give them such a great rating? Why are they doing this all of a sudden? I have a fixed income and for them to increase this at this stage in my life means that I will need to reduce my coverage.

    Richard

    Reply
    • Only 50%? You consider yourself lucky, because they increased my payment by 100% every year. I just cancelled the policy.

      Reply
  7. My dad bought a Genworth policy for long term care, and now is in permanent home for assisted care due to stroke which left him paralyzed and more importantly, unable to speak or communicate at all.
    My mother, a homemaker with no experience paying bills or internet knowledge is left to pay premiums, which she said would not be required when they are paying out on the claim. My older sister has power of attorney after her, and is capable of taking care of things.
    But I am still highly concerned how to take safeguards that a premium is not missed, causing them to be cancelled. My sister doesn’t seem concerned, as tho, she knows whats going on, but two eyes are better than one. What would you do?

    Reply
    • Hi Kristy,

      It can be pretty sticky when dealing with money and parents. It is often tough for people to take advice from someone that they once changed their diapers.

      If it were me, I would speak to my mother about having someone assist with the monthly bill paying. That way someone could oversee all the payments and make sure everything is getting paid.

      If that didn’t work, I would try and help her set up auto pay directly from her checking account, so at least she didn’t have to remember each month.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
    • set up automatic payments with the bank. you still have to watch out for increasing premiums so there should be more than one person designated to receive notifications/mail, in case one is on vacation or something happens to them.

      Reply

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